What differences do welfare state variations make for women? How do women and men fare in different welfare states? Diane Sainsbury answers these questions by analysing the situation in countries whose welfare state policies differ in significant ways: the United States, the United Kingdom, Sweden, and the Netherlands. Building on feminist criticisms of mainstream research, Professor Sainsbury reconceptualises the crucial dimensions of variation, notably those relevant to gender. She determines the extent to which legislation reflects and perpetuates the gendered division of labour in the family and society, as well as what types of policy alter gender relations in social provision. She thereby increases our understanding of how policy mechanisms, especially the bases of entitlement, exclude or incorporate women and offers constructive proposals for securing greater equality between women and men.